May misses off expat pensions rights in Brexit EU 'deal'

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Britain's prime minister, Theresa May, has failed to guarantee state pension arrangements for British expats in the details of the current deal reached between the UK and the European Union.

In a remarkable admission that will leave almost a million UK citizens sweating on their future pension provisions, speaking in UK parliament on Monday (26 November), May said that the government will still needed to "negotiate some of the arrangements in relation to certain benefits, such as pensions, under the future trading relationship".

As reported, on Sunday, the leaders of the 27 European Union member states endorsed the Brexit withdrawal agreement and approved the political declaration on future relations between the UK and the EU.

The controversial arrangement, which will be voted on by UK parliamentarians on December 11 and, will, if voted though, rubber stamp an agreement that does not protect current or future pensions rights of UK expats in the EU.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there are 900,000 Brits living abroad in the EU. Of this total, 220,000 are aged 65 or more.

Existing EU treaties support the accumulation and receipt of the UK state pension for British citizens living elsewhere in the EU. A similar arrangement exists for national health cover.

As a result, contributions towards another EU country's state pension system during the individual's working life can be used to enhance the saver's entitlement to a British state pension.

At the moment an EU citizen only needs to make one state pension claim at retirement, regardless of their working history within the EU.

A British citizen in receipt of a British state pension elsewhere in the EU will also see their pension payments increase in line with recipients who are resident in the UK - currently governed by the triple lock.

But May's startling admission will send shockwaves into the UK expat communities across Europe, with many fearing a slip into ‘frozen' status.

This is where pensions of expats in certain jurisdictions, where arrangements are not in place with the country of residence, means that pension income are unable to increase in line with other UK pensions.

As reported, various action groups are lobbying the UK  government to change its own rules to support these thousands of frozen pensioners across the globe.